Making room for Le Tour tourists can pay off
The full scale of this summer’s friendly invasion is becoming apparent and owners are keen to cash in on the big race. Sharon Dale reports.
THE magnitude of the Tour de France invasion is finally beginning to dawn on those who live on and near the route of Yorkshire’s Grand Départ.
With two to three million visitors expected, the world’s biggest bike race looks set to put enormous pressure on resources. Many B&Bs, holiday lets and campsites are now booked up and car parks are looking woefully inadequate.
As previously mentioned in Property Post, there is an opportunity for homeowners to let rooms or even a whole house. You can earn up to £4,125 tax free under the HMRC’s Rent-a-Room scheme. If you let your whole property, then you may be liable for tax.
Nel Hargrave, of www. worththetour.org.uk, a group set up to promote community events in and around Haworth during the race, is considering renting a self-contained basement in her Oxenhope cottage. Meanwhile, those with land are looking at turning fields into temporary car parks and campsites.
“There are quite a few camp sites setting up in this area,” says Nel. “Haworth Young Farmers are working with Manorlands Hospice to set up camp sites so they can raise funds for the charity.”
Over in Masham, landowner Patrick Warrington is moving the sheep off his fields to create space for a campsite, a car park and food stalls.
“We are expecting 20,000 to 30,000 people on the day. This is the biggest annual sporting event in the world and so it seemed silly not to try and do something. Creating a camping area, parking for 2,000 cars and laying on food was the obvious thing,” says Patrick, who is planning to charge car owners £10 for the day, while giving cyclists free access and a lock up area for their bikes.
“Setting it all up is fairly straight forward. We’re putting showers and toilets in for the campers and you have to have good access in and out of the field for safety reasons. You also need public liability insurance.”
One of the biggest issues is promotion. Patrick suggests Facebook, Twitter and setting up a website, though you are not allowed to use “le Tour” in the title. He has used www. mashamevents.co.uk.
“If you want to rent a room I’d put a sign up in the garden or in the window because we are already getting a lot of cyclists going round the route and there is a definitely a need for accommodation,” he says. “It’s not just visitors, there are hundreds of Tour staff who need somewhere to stay.”
Those who want to cash in by creating campsites and car parks should also check with their local authority and insurer before going ahead. Many councils are relaxing the rules for the event.
Alice Marshall, who is Bradford Council’s tour co-ordinator, says: “We have a section dedicated to the Tour on the council website so there’s lots of information there. If you are unsure about what is and is not allowed then contact us to check. One of the big issues is signs. We are relaxing rules a little but we have to be very careful about them blocking driver vision.”
The Inland Revenue should also be informed as income earned from campsites and car parking is taxable, says tax advisor Richard Whitelock, of Garbutt and Elliott.
“HMRC must be contacted no later than October 5, 2015, and any income tax owing would be due for payment by January 31, 2016. For those already in the self assessment system, they simply need to ensure this one-off income is reported.”
So the inland revenue will benefit from the Tour too, though only temporarily. The property market could see long-lasting effects. Estate agent Tim Gower, of Robin Jessop’s in Leyburn, says: “The long-term benefits of showing off such a breathtaking landscape to a worldwide audience could benefit the area for years to come.”
The Grand Départ pushes off on July 5, If you fancy buying a property on the route, there are plenty of options, including those pictured here.